Representative of Alaska. Mary BeltolaThe Democrats, who won a special election this summer that sent him to Congress, will once again topple former Gov. Sarah PalinAn attempt at a political comeback. CNN predicted on Wednesday that Beltola would win the race Seat of Alaska’s Great House After the state Ranked Exam Voting TablePalin and defeated Republican Nick Begich III.
Republican Senate. CNN also predicts that Lisa Murkowski will win re-election. She will defeat Republican Kelly Shibaka and Democrat Patricia Chesbro. CNN previously predicted a Republican would take the seat.
And CNN predicts that Republican Governor Mike Dunleavy will win re-election. He defeated Democrat Les Cara and Independent Bill Walker. Dunleavy won more than 50% of the first-choice vote, so a ranked choice table was not required.
In Alaska, voters approved a switch to ranked-choice voting in 2020. It will come into effect for the first time in 2022.
Under the new system, Alaska holds open primaries and voters vote for any party’s candidate, with the top four finishers advancing. In the general election, voters rank those four candidates, from their first choice to their fourth choice.
If no candidate tops 50% of the first-choice vote, the state tabulates the ranked-choice results — dropping the last-place finisher and transferring those votes to the voters’ second choice. If there is no winner after one round of tabulation, the third place finisher is dropped and the same voting process takes place.
The Alaska governor’s race may avoid the ranked-choice schedule altogether. Republican Governor Mike Dunleavy, who is seeking a second term, currently has 50.3% of the vote — just over the 50% threshold needed to win. However, Wednesday is the deadline for overseas votes to be counted – so extra votes could still change the margins of the race. Democrat Les Cara is currently in second place with 24.2% of the vote, while independent former governor Bill Walker is in third place with 20.7%.
In the House and Senate races, incumbents Beltola and Murkowski were heavily favored.
Beltola did not cross the 50% threshold, but currently has a clear lead with 48.7% of the vote. The next two seats are split between two top Republicans: Palin, who is trying to make a political comeback after 13 years as the GOP’s vice presidential nominee, and Nick Begich III, a Republican member of Alaska’s most prominent Democratic political family.
Palin received 25.8% of the state’s first-place vote, while Begich received 23.4%. Libertarian Chris Pye, who finished fourth, received 1.7% of the vote.
Beltola first won the House seat when a similar situation arose in an August special election to fill the remaining months of the late Republican Rep. Dan Young, who died in March after representing Alaska in the House for 49 years.
Touting himself as a supporter of abortion rights and a salmon fishing advocate, Beltola emerged victorious in the August special election with just 40% of the first-place vote. This time, she has a greater stake, while the support of Palin and Begich has shrunk.
House races have revealed unusual alliances in Alaska politics. Although Beltola is a Democrat, he’s also close to Palin — her tenure as governor overlapped with Beltola’s tenure in the state legislature in Juneau. Both have complimented each other heartily. Palin criticized ranked choice voting and asked voters to “red rank” — listing Republican candidates as their first and second choices. But she wasn’t targeting Beltola personally.
In the Senate race, Murkowski and Shibaka had a similar share of first-place votes: Murkowski had 43.3% support, while Shibaka had 42.7%.
However, Democrat Patricia Chesbro finished third with 10.3% support. Voters who prefer Chesbro are widely expected to rank the moderate Murkowski over the Trump-aligned Shibaka. Fourth-place finisher Buzz Kelley, a Republican who suspended his campaign in September and endorsed Shibaka, received 2.9% of the first-place vote.
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